ICIS has announced its annual ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies listing of global producers ranked by 2018 sales.

This year, China’s Sinopec vaulted into the number one spot as the world’s leading chemical company with sales of $79.5bn in 2018, a 25% increase from 2017. The break-up of last year’s top company, US-based DowDuPont, into three separate firms paved the way for the new leader.

Germany-based BASF came in second with 2018 sales of $71.8bn, followed by US-based Dow with $60.3bn. Saudi Arabia-based SABIC took the number four slot with $42.2bn in revenue, and US-based LyondellBasell was in fifth with $39.0bn.

“There were dynamic shifts in the ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies ranking, with capacity additions, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), spinoffs and currency playing major roles,” said Joseph Chang, Global Editor of ICIS Chemical Business.

2018 saw sales growth but profit gains were hard to come by, especially with US-China trade war headwinds emerging in the latter part of the year, which contributed to massive destocking in the fourth quarter.

“Sales growth was certainly healthy, but the average de-cline in operating profit of 8% illustrates the margin pressure encountered by many produc-ers in the difficult second half,” said Nigel Davis, ICIS Insight Editor.

The companies in the ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies listing generated combined sales of $1.2 trillion in 2018, up by 10% from a year earlier.

The ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies ranking is available for download as a PDF at www.icis.com/pages/icis-top-100-chemical-companies